Arctic sea ice set to bottom out at 4th-lowest extent


Arctic sea will soon reach its seasonal minimum. Map courtesy NSIDC.

August trend shows decline of 10 percent per decade

Staff Report

FRISCO — Scientists with the National Snow and Ice Data Center say they expect this year’s minimum Arctic sea ice extent to be one of the lowest on record in the satellite area. Through 2015, the linear rate of decline for August extent is 10.3 percent per decade, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The ice dwindled at a steady pace throughout the month of August at a rate of about 29,000 square miles per day, faster than the long-term average rate of 22,100 square miles per day, but slower than in 2012, when the Arctic ice pack reached a record low extent. Continue reading

Climate: Arctic sea ice melt speeds up in July


Melting Arctic sea ice off the coast of Greenland in early August 2015. @bberwyn photo.

Satellite data show potential for rapid melt of thicker, multiyear ice

Staff Report

FRISCO — After an average start to the Arctic sea ice melt season, the pace of melting picked up in July. By the end of the month, the sea ice extent was within 212,000 square miles of the extent recorded on the same date in 2012, and is now tracking below 2013 and 2014, federal ice trackers with the National Snow & Ice Data Center said in their latest monthly update.

The main reason the sea ice extent remained higher than in 2012 — the lowest year on record — was because of solid ice cover in Baffin and Hudson bays. In the Beaufort Sea, by contrast, the ice has now thinned considerably, with many large broken ice floes surrounded by open water. Continue reading

Climate: Arctic sea ice near record low in February


Northern hemisphere snow cover below average for the month

Staff Report

FRISCO — Arctic sea ice extent continued to hover near a record-low level in February, federal ice trackers said in their latest monthly update, adding that this year’s maximum extent, expected sometime in mid-March, may be the smallest on record.

Regionally, Arctic ice extent is especially low in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea, but the bulletin from the National Snow and Ice Data Center explains that ice is “missing” all around the margins of the Arctic. The only area with above-average sea ice extent is around Newfoundland and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Continue reading

January Arctic sea ice extent was 3d-lowest on record


Arctic sea ice extent is declining every month of the year by at least 3 percent on a decadal scale. Graph courtesy NSIDC.

Average temps over parts of the Arctic Sea ranged from 7 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit above average

Staff Report

FRISCO — Arctic sea ice extent for January was the third-lowest on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which reported an average sea ice extent of about 5.26 million square miles for the month. That’s 351,000 square miles below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average, and 19,000 square miles above the record low for the month observed in 2011.

During the coldest time of year, the deviations from average are not as great as during the summer, but the the linear rate of decline for January extent over the satellite record is 3.2 percent per decade. Continue reading

Arctic climate: USGS scientists document walrus response to shrinking summer sea ice cover

A Walrus in the Chukchi Sea during a tagging survey onboard the Norseman II in June 2010. Photo courtesy Sarah Sonsthagen , U.S. Geological Survey.

New study a first step in understanding long-term impacts to walrus populations

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say walruses in the Arctic are responding to shrinking summer sea ice by arriving earlier at their northern feeding grounds on the broad continental shelf of the Chukchi Sea.

When the sea ice over the continental shelf melts completely in the fall, they “hauled out” onshore in large aggregations and foraged for food closer to shore. Hauling out refers to the behavior associated with seals and walruses of temporarily leaving the water for sites on land or ice, according to the study published in the journal Marine Ecology.

The researchers said they’re not exactly sure how this may affect walrus populations in the long run, however it is known that immature walruses are more susceptible to mortality from trampling onshore, Additionally, hauling out onshore and using nearshore feeding areas may require more energy. Continue reading

Arctic sea ice melts at nearly double the average rate in August, dips below 4 million square kilometers

The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of September 3, 2012, along with daily ice extent data for the previous five years. 2012 is shown in blue, 2011 in orange, 2010 in pink, 2009 in navy, 2008 in purple, and 2007 in green. The 1979 to 2000 average is in dark gray. The gray area around this average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Sea Ice Index data. Graphic courtesy NSIDC.

August extent just half of the average levels recorded in the 1980s and 1990s

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT VOICE — For the first time in the modern satellite record, Arctic sea ice extent has dropped below 4 million square kilometers, marking a 45 percent reduction from the levels recorded in the 1980s and 1990s.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center said the ice extent may shrink for another week or so before the Arctic region starts to cool off, leading to a renewed cycle of freezing.

During most of August, the ice extent remained well below the levels of 2007, when the previous record low was set. The only place where sea ice remained near its average long-term extent was along the east coast of Greenland. Continue reading

Climate: May Arctic sea ice extent dips below average

Arctic sea ice extent dipped down toward historic low levels by the end of May. GRAPH COURTESY NATIONAL SNOW AND ICE DATA CENTER.

Average May sea ice extent has been declining by 2.3 percent per decade

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After hovering near average in April, Arctic sea ice melted rapidly in early May, dipping to near the extent seen in 2007, when the year ended with a record low sea ice extent.

But in the monthly update, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said there is little historic correlation between May levels and the extent at the end of the melt season in September.

For the month, Arctic sea ice extent averaged 5.07 million square miles, which is about 185,000 square miles below the 1979 to 2000 average. Record low sea ice extent during the satellite measurement era was in 2004. Continue reading


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